Assyrian Christian refugees ignored by UNHCR

'Majority of refugees have been waiting more than two years—some since the rise of ISIS in 2014'

Monday 05 August - The registration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) gives Assyrian Christians the protective status of refugee as they await resettlement. Yet, the process of resettlement takes at minimum several months and sometimes even years.

A recent study conducted by the Government of Jordan found that nearly forty percent of urban refugees cannot afford needed medicines or access health care services.

More than thirty percent of households interviewed by the API reported at least one household member suffered from a chronic disease or disability, noting that they struggled to access affordable medicine or care.

Access to education for Assyrian refugee children in Jordan is limited; many parents fear their children will become part of a lost generation.

Assyrian refugees from Iraq are unable to access the required work permit in order to be employed legally in Jordan due to the restrictive administrative process and the prohibitively expensive filing fees.

Assyrians are also suffering from what have been termed the 'silent killers': waiting, boredom, hopelessness, and isolation. Like most displaced peoples, feelings of weariness and frustration are widespread.

Life is monotonous for many Assyrian refugees, as they spend years awaiting resettlement with little to do on a daily basis. While the long wait for a visa is anticipated, there is no guarantee of resettlement.

Nearly half of the households that remain in Jordan reported that their applications for resettlement via the Australian Special Humanitarian Program had been rejected since the time of their initial interview with the Assyrian Policy Institute (between December 2017 and January 2018).

If an application is denied, there is no opportunity for an appeal.

Author's comment: These are the refugees who should be given priority for resettlement in Western countries. Maybe we should set up an exchange program to welcome them and to export our Muslim populations back to Muslim countries in exchange. Ten Muslims per Assyrian Christian would seem like a reasonable exchange rate. What do our readers think?

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